On July 1st, the Hong Kong Government Environmental Protection Department implemented sulphur regulations for Ocean-Going Vessels(OGV).
The Regulation prohibits OGVs from using any fuel other than the compliant fuel while at berth in Hong Kong, except during the first hour after arrival and the last hour before departure. They require OGVs to use fuel with a sulphur content of less than 0.5% while at berth in Hong Kong waters. The shipmasters and shipowners are required to record the date and time of fuel switching and keep the relevant records for three years.
Before the imposition of the new rule, average 24-hour, airborne concentrations of SOx in the vicinity of Kwai Chung container terminal was recorded to be 34 milligrams per cubic meter. Just a week after implementation of the sulphur regulations, data collected in the same area recorded 12 milligrams per cubic meter. A phenomenal 65% reduction of SOx emission has been achieved as reported by Clean Air Network (CAN).
CAN is an NGO that encourages debates about pollution reduction and its impact on health. CAN propagates that this new rule will help save lives lost from OGV emissions. CAN intends to pressurise introduction of similar rules in mainland China and the ports in the Pearl River Delta (PDA). Their long term vision is to ensure PRD be part of a regional Emission Control Area (ECA).